Wellington - The Fiji Rugby Union has named former Fiji backrower Inoke Male as its new national coach, appointing him to a four-year term.
takes over from Sam Domoni who was sacked after Fiji's poor performance
at last year's Rugby World Cup. Fiji was eliminated without winning a match
in pool play and its international ranking has fallen to 16th, an
Male said "the development of rugby in Fiji is my
major focus. My immediate focus is on the Pacific Rugby Cup, which
begins on February 26, and my long-term goal is the Rugby World Cup
Male played 15 tests for Fiji, making his debut against
Australia in 1998 at the age of 35 and retiring after Fiji's elimination
by England in the quarterfinals of the 1999 World Cup.
He was an
assistant coach of the Fiji team in 2009 and 2010 and was head coach of
the Fiji Under-20 team which finished in the top six at the 2011 Junior
World Cup with wins over Wales and Italy.
He coached the Tailevu
Rugby Union to the Farebrother-Sullivan Cup, Fiji rugby's premier
trophy, and recently coached the Vatukoula Rugby Union from the B
Division into the Major Division of the Fiji National Championship.
headed off a number of overseas candidates to win the coaching role.
The Fiji Rugby Union has not released the names of unsuccessful
Fiji rugby fans were in despair after high hopes for
their team at the World Cup in New Zealand were dashed. Male has
promised to restore Fiji to a top-10 world ranking but said the process
would take time.
"Please be patient, it won't happen overnight," he said.
Rugby Union chairperson Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said Male would be given
time to settle into his position and results would not be immediately
demanded of him.
"Everybody wanted a local to coach the national
team. We have got that person," Tikoitoga said. "We wanted the best
person available in Fiji to do this. Now we have got that best person."